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330th Missions of 1945

Please keep in mind that these aircraft did not fly in the massive formations that you are probably used to seeing in movies of that era. On a typical Daylight Mission, these aircraft flew individually, one minute apart, from Guam to a predesignated "Rallying" point about 100 miles or so off the coast of Japan. Then they would form up on a "Lead" aircraft and proceed in smaller formations (10 aircraft or so) over the target. They would then drop when they witnessed the "Lead" aircraft drop,then head back individually once again to Guam. Formation flying takes up much more fuel than flying an aircraft solo, where you can take advantage of the particular conditions which suit you and your aircraft for maximum fuel preservation. They were flying thousands of miles for a dozen or more hours. Every gallon would make the difference of either making it to Guam, Iwo Jima, or into the Pacific. On a Daylight Mission, squadron visibility was the key to assuring a successful mission. For some missions it was imperative that you found your designated squadron and proceeded over the target at the briefed time, the briefed altitude and of course, hit your target. In the unfortunate occurrence of not finding your particular formation.., well then you would form up on another group and then bomb your target anyway. In the military there is a saying. "terrain dictates".. this means.., plans change, conditions change, so be flexible and ALWAYS have a fall back.

On a typical Night Mission, they again would take-off one minute apart, but instead of 'Rallying' off the coast. Each aircraft would have their own assigned altitude and heading over the target. Minutes before the rest of the squadron was due over the target a 'Pathfinder' aircraft would drop on the target. Thus, marking it for the rest to drop on. Of course whether on a Daylight or Nightime Mission, if the Primary Target was obscured, they could either drop by RADAR or drop on a Secondary Target.

"It was hard enough to get a formation together of ten or eleven airplanes from a Group, let alone a Squadron, so a Squadron Lead Crew may provide the Group lead and it didn't make any difference where the wing-men came from (within the Group, of course). If a Group was scheduling, say, thirty planes or say, three formations to make it simple, no one knew how many would show up at the different rendezvous points. There might have been a crash on take-off or an early return of some guy due to mechanical problems.

Everything was well planned at the Briefing but a lot could happen between the Briefing and many hours later in the air at a rendezvous point off the coast of Japan. I doubt there was ever a formation which went over the target "as briefed" with all the right tail numbers in their briefed position. You had to stay flexible and roll with the punches." reprinted with permission from Ret. General Earl Johnson


April - May - June - July - August

Mission: 1

Date: 12 April

Target: Hodogaya Chemical Plant

Bomber Command Mission: 65

Code Name: Lunchroom #1

The 330th Bomb Group (BG) arrived in the middle of an intensive bombing campaign by the Twentieth Air Force with the strategic objective of knocking the Japanese aircraft industry out of the war. To date, this campaign did not appear to be very successful since several major plants, such as the Nakajima Musashino Aircraft Plant north of Tokyo and the Mitsubishi Plant near Nagoya, seemed to be little damaged as a result of persistent daylight precision raids by B-29s flying in formation. A major reason was the weather, which hindered both assembling in formation at a remote point and then flying to the target, which might be covered in clouds or haze making visual bombing difficult or impossible. The first strategic objective of the 314th Bomb Wing (BW), to which the 330th BG belonged, was to knock out the Hodogaya Chemical Plant (Target #6129), located north of Koriyama City. This plant was one of only two plants in Japan thought to be producing tetraethyl lead -an important additive in aviation gasoline. To that date, the mission would be the longest, both in time and distance, from the Marianas. The mission took about 18 hours. Finding and hitting this plant was no small navigational feat. Twenty B-29s were scheduled to participate in this mission with each plane carrying (8) 500lb Comp. B. GP, high explosive (HE) bombs. The Group averaged 2.2 tons of HE per aircraft and 7,425 gallons of fuel. The total weight of aircraft averaged 71 tons. The planes took off at 12/0331 -12/0353G (1731Z to 1753Z4) at one-minute intervals, normally adhering to radio silence. The assembly point was Aoga Shima (an island about 250 statute miles south of Tokyo) and while circling at 1,000 to 1,500 feet, the aircraft were fired upon by a Japanese ship, described as a destroyer escort. One plane, K-53, Charles E. Tibbs, A/C, was hit, losing one engine and necessitating a return to Iwo Jima. Finally, two formations were formed consisting of 12 aircraft and 5 aircraft. One B-29 was late in taking off, never made it to the assembly point in time and dropped its bombs on a target of opportunity (T/O). Two other planes aborted. The 12 plane formation, at an altitude of 7,000 to 8,000 feet, was off the briefed heading on the first bomb run and had to make a second run on a heading of 140 degrees with visibility at 8 miles in haze. The 5 plane formation attacked the plant on a heading of 234 degrees. Bombs were dropped between 12/1233G-12/1328G. At this low altitude, we were counting on surprise and it apparently was achieved. Japanese flak was described as meager and inaccurate and there was absolutely no fighter opposition. During landing at Guam, rain showers lowered ceilings at North Field but 13 planes landed from 12/2157 -12/2325G (1157 to 1325Z). Three planes were diverted and landed safely at Harmon Field. On such a long flight, fuel management was critical. Average gas consumption was. 7,224 gallons, thus leaving an average of 200 gallons to spare. The highest gas consumer was K-32 with 7,447 gallons and the lowest K-6 with 6,975 gallons. As a diversion on these long missions, Michael Schulich, RO, K-42, stated that he would tune in the BBC and hear their symphony orchestra (their transmitter was either in London or Southeast Asia but the radio waves bounced off the ionosphere to be caught by K-42). But, most of the crew preferred Tokyo Rose over the BBC symphony. Bomb results were excellent. All the main buildings in the Group target area were damaged or destroyed, comprising 73 % of the target roof area, but the price was high, since the 330th BG lost two planes.


CASUALTIES

Aircraft: K-59 SN 44-69857, MACR # 14238

1LT James Lawrence (A/C) -MIA, and 2LT Clive Wood (P) -MIA, were both presumed killed in crash 2LT Edward Hyde (N) -rescued, 2LT Arthur Pearson (B) -rescued, FO Robert Schneider, Rad Obs -MIA, presumed drowned TSGT Orval Haugen (FE) -rescued, PVT Lewis Wilhelm (RO) -rescued, SGT Donald Bush (CFC) -rescued, CPL Leo Richards (LG) -MIA, presumed drowned, CPL Michael Balogh (RG) -rescued, CPL Clinton Krauss (TG) -rescued.

This Crew was regularly assigned to K-55 but, on this mission, K-55 was out for an engine change and they flew K-59 instead. On the return flight from the Empire, the Loran and radio compass were inoperative, but the Nav was easily able to navigate along the Mariana chain of islands using radar. But, as the aircraft approached Guam, heavy low clouds and electrical interference blocked out the radar picture. At this point the aircraft was flying at minimum altitude and the Nav was confident that he could pick up Guam. It is estimated that the plane was 15 miles west of Guam and probably too low for radar to be effective. After flying for 30 minutes longer, the Nav realized they had passed Guam and the radar operator requested a directional finding (DF) from the ground station. Due to an error on the part of the DF station, reciprocal bearings were sent out and a course of 180 out of phase with the correct heading to Guam were given. Since the Nav at this point was trying to get a celestial fix, he did not plot the bearings given to the plane. A total of three bearings were given to the plane between the initial request and the ditching low on fuel. Lawrence prepared the aircraft for ditching. Ditching followed the standard procedure going crosswind and parallel to the swells, flaps fully down and landing lights on (it was dark). The plane hit the water tail first. On impact, water rushed into the bomb bay and lower forward turret. The plane floated for two to three minutes when the nose and wings went upright and sank. Life rafts were released from inside the plane. It was about 2330G and the crew had been in the air for about 20 hours. It was their first combat mission. A/C and Pilot were not seen after impact. B and FE went through the engineer's hatch; CFC Gunner, N and RO went out the astrodome, which they had removed with an axe before ditching. In exiting the rear escape hatch, the RG pushed out the LG ahead of him and the Rad Obs, who had his chest pack on. The TG went through his escape hatch very easily. The N, B, FE, RO and CFC got in the life raft in the front of the plane. Two life rafts were released and they were then lashed together. One life raft was upside down but, at this point, the weight was so heavy that they did not have the strength to right it. They never saw the four who exited the rear of the plane. The RG and TG inflated their Mae West's and they were together, but they did not see the others. They did not have their one-man dinghies. They heard a cry for help but could not find the man in the darkness. The five-crew men in the life raft did not have the Gibson Girl radio but they were confident that the plane's location was known since the ground station had a fix on them. Before ditching, the RO sent out an "I am ditching" message and screwed down the key. The Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) was in emergency positions. Actually, three stations; Iwo, Saipan and Guam, had an accurate fix on their location. They ditched at 11030' N by 142020' E at 2330G, 180 statute miles SW of Guam. The sea anchor on the life raft broke and they drifted several miles from the ditching location. At daybreak, to attract attention, smoke bombs, sea markers, mirrors and paddles were used. First they saw a C-47, which circled twice, but did not acknowledge the sighting. A Navy Dumbo appeared and circled and two others appeared and acknowledged the sighting by rolling their wings. The Dumbo circled, and kept circling, until a destroyer rescued them. Life rafts were dropped to the two in Mae West's. They were in the water for 18 hours and the TG could not swim. The Rad Obs and LG were never found and were presumed drowned.

Aircraft: K-14 SN 44-69795

1LT Robert Ziegele (A/C) -KIA 2LT George Longsdorf (P) -KIA 2LT Willard Lersch (N) -KIA 1LT Charles Cooper (B) -KIA 1LT David Anderson (Rad Ob) -KIA MSGT Ray Cline (FE) -KIA SSGT Clinton Spear (RO) -survived the crash SGT Clifton Coker -KIA SSGT Arthur Johnson, Jr. -KIA PFC Victor Wright -KIA CPL Nicholas Brando -KIA

Ziegele, K-14 A/C, making an instrument approach due to low ceiling and poor visibility at North Field, suffered wing damage when the plane brushed a tree on the initial landing attempt. It was about 12/2000 G. The damaged A/C was diverted to Agana (Harmon) Field and on the approach to Agana Field, the plane stalled short of the runway and crashed nose first, splitting in two. The plane immediately burst into flames. The RO, Spear, walked out of the split in the fuselage and was the only survivor. The other ten men were buried at the Marine Cemetery at Agana, Guam. A personal note was added to this tragedy by Jackson Wallace, K-3 A/C. GEN Thomas Power, CO, 314th Bombardment Wing (BW) was Robert Ziegele' s uncle and, shortly after the crash, a second beacon was added at the North Field, which helped greatly in instrument landings.


Mission: 2

Date: 13-14 April

Target: Tokyo Artificial Chemical Fertilizer Plant (Target #204)

Bomber Command Mission: 67

Code Name: Perdition 1

This mission is classified as a precision night mission. The night was clear and the aiming point was the Tokyo Arsenal complex. In the bigger picture, it was a three Wing effort by the 73rd, 313th and 314th Bomb Wings. Combination loads of HE and incendiary bombs were used. The reported burned out area was estimated as 10.5 sq mi. The 330th BG contributed 16 planes that deposited 47.5 tons on or near its aiming point (AP) described as the Tokyo Artificial Chemical Fertilizer plant (Target #204). Antiaircraft fire was intense and altogether 7 planes were lost, one from the 458th Bomb Squadron. On this raid, SSGT Francis Fallon of K-6,states that two Bakas chased their plane as well as other B-29's of the 330th that night. A Baka was a rocket-propelled plane with a bomb in the nose aimed by a Kamikaze pilot. The plane was called Okha (Cherry Blossom) by the Japanese. Irwin, K-6 A/C, guided by the TG took evasive action and outmaneuvered the Bakas, which had only a limited range of about 23 miles. The same incident happened to K-29 as described by its Pilot Bob Woolson. He recalls that evening well and remembers not only having the aircraft tossed about in a thermal, but the TG screaming up to both he and the A/C, Smisek. "Something is chasing us!" TG, Kinsell called up excitedly. Smisek (A/C) and Woolson (P), understanding the magnitude of the situation, nosed the laden aircraft down and over-applied the throttles to RED LINE. The plane began to rattle as she was pushed as far as she would go. At 2,000 feet Smisek and Woolson strained to level out at that speed and the TG, Kinsell called out that the Baka had just crashed into the water below. K-29 was so badly damaged structurally from that incident that she would barely make it back to Iwo Jima and never fly again. Smisek and Woolsen received a new aircraft after the crew hopped a B-24 back to Guam. It was on this mission that another hazard of night missions became a near reality for K-6. The LG, John Farr, with a searchlight illuminating their plane, looked up and saw another B-29 above him with its bomb bay doors open. It dropped cluster bombs, just missing their wing.


CASUALTIES

Plane K-43SN 44-69799

LTCOL Doyne Turner, CO 458th BS, Observer -MIA 1LT Alpheus Carle (A/C) -MIA 2LT William Muhlenberg (N)-MIA 2LT Andrew Litz (P) -MIA 2LT John Price (B)-MIA 2LT George Kruse, Jr. (Rad Ob) -MIA TSG Jim Verhines (FE) -MIA SSGT Lawrence Duffy (RO) -MIA CPL Allen Morsch (CFC) -MIA CPL Darwin Muller (RG) -MIA CPL Calvin Raymond (LG) -MIA PFC Edwin Lund (TG) -MIA

This plane. with LTCOL Doyne Turner, CO of the 458th BS on board as an observer, and Alpheus Carle as A/C of K-43 (Carle was on his second combat mission so he must have participated in Mission No.1), was hit over Tokyo and went down in Tokyo Bay. According to post war reports, the 12 members of the crew bailed out and were captured. They were initially interrogated by the Kempei Tai (the Japanese Gestapo) in Tokyo and then transferred to a POW camp. This report states that the prison was enveloped in flames (in a subsequent mission in which the 330th participated) but the guards refused to release the POW's, including Turner and Carle and his crew. Some others escaped and were cut down by the guards. After the war, at the Tokyo War Crimes Trial, these guards were accused, convicted and ultimately executed. Leroy Jorgensen, Nav on K-58 who participated on both these missions, commented to his close friend, Norman Graham, K-3 Rad Obs, that at the initial casualty rate they would not live through the 25 missions, the presumed number of missions a crew had to complete at that time. The statistics backed him up. The 330th BG sent out 36 planes on these two missions and lost three planes, 8.3 % of the attacking force. But wars sometimes take strange twists and turns, as we shall see.


Mission: 3

Date: 15-16 April

Target: Kawasaki

Bomber Command Mission: 68

Code Name: Brisket #1

Giving the Tokyo industrial area no let up, 20 B-29s from the 330th BG were again-part of a larger effort by the 73rd, 313th and 314th BWs against the southern Tokyo suburb of Kawasaki, between Tokyo and Yokohama. The Bomb Group deposited 95.2 tons on 1he suburb. The planes left at 15/1700G and returned at about 16/0900G. It was a clear night in the area and the searchlights, enemy flak and fighters were particularly effective, resulting in a loss of 13 planes, fortunately none from the 330th BG. But some crews can vividly recall close calls. One plane, K-3, hit landfall 50 miles south of the target, almost ran into a mountain range and A/C Jackson Wallace was just barely able to lift the heavily laden plane over the top of the range. Then, coming into Tokyo area over Mt. Fujiyama, he was able to deposit its load, presumably close to the designated target area #3604. The plane was then caught in search lights, but fortunately, Wallace was able to bank into a rising smoke thermal which shot the plane up several thousand feet before Wallace and Roger Vannelli, the co-pilot, were able to gain control of the plane. One crewmember stated that it was the most pleasant roller coaster ride of his life, escaping the searchlights which had locked on the plane and he could look into the center of the beam! Later photo analysis indicated that approximately 8 sq mi of Tokyo and its environs were burned out that night. While the strategic target (#3604) was listed as the maximum point of impact (MPI), this was an area-bombing mission, since there was no possible way the later planes could identify a particular target on the ground, but the incendiary patterns were clearly visible from the air.


Mission: 4

Date: 17 April

Target: Kanoya Air Drome

Bomber Command Mission:

Code Name: Checkbook #1

All remaining missions by the 330th BG in April except a mission against an aircraft plant on 24 April 1945, were against airfields on Kyushu Island. This was part of the XXI Bomber Command anti-Kamikaze campaign requested by Admiral Chester Nimitz I due to the clobbering the U.S. Navy was taking from Japanese suicide planes. Japanese suicide missions were well known in the South West and Central Pacific combat areas, where Marines and Army encountered fanatical charges of trapped and encircled Japanese garrisons. But, starting with the Philippine campaign, the Japanese Navy utilized Kamikaze planes against American warships and carriers. As the noose tightened around the Japanese Home Islands, what was initially a sporadic effort became, with Okinawa campaign, an organized Japanese naval effort to thwart the Okinawa invasion. During the period 6-28 April 1945, armadas of Kamikaze planes were directed at the American Okinawa invasion armada. In the words of one high Japanese official, Foreign Minister Togo, "With one victory, we can bargain for peace with the Americans, otherwise we will have to accept what was offered," -unconditional surrender - unacceptable to most of the Japanese military establishment. Therefore, the XXI BC efforts were diverted from the targets favored by the Washington strategists to those favored by the Navy and Marines in and around Okinawa. These were the airfields from which the Kamikaze planes and their escorts emanated. No Air Force in the Pacific in April 1945 had planes capable of hitting these airfields. Even the U.S. carriers were tied down around Okinawa, so ADM Nimitz directed GEN LeMay to knock out the airfields. The 330th BG played an important role in these raids, although few in the organization realized it at the time. Six of the nine Kyushu A/F raids were against the Kanoya Air Drome complex and code named Checkbook. Kanoya airfield was the headquarters of Adm. Matome Ugaki who skillfully directed the Kamikaze campaign from this base. He also kept a diary, which was not always complimentary of some airfield raids. Checkbook #1 took place on 17 April 1945 against the Kanoya Air Drome by 11 B-29's, which dropped 16.27 tons of HE on the complex. The aiming point (AP) for the Group was a row of hangar type buildings on the SW corner of the base. Crew reports stated hangar buildings at the base were hit and burning and, in general, bomb results were reported as good to excellent.


Mission: 5

Date: 18 April

Target: Kanoya Air Drome

Bomber Command Mission:

Code Name: Checkbook #2

To give the Kamikaze pilots no rest, the 330th BG bombed the Kanoya Air Drome the following day. This time 11 planes took off at 18/0100 to 18/0205G (17/1500 t 17/1605Z) with one plane aborting. The remaining 10 planes assembled in formation over Ioa Shima (probably Io Jima on later maps 55 miles from Kanoya) and proceeded formation to Kanoya where they dropped 26.80 tons HE at 18/0857G. The bomb load consisted of 134/500 Ib. T4E bombs. This is 33.5 tons but the 330th BG Digest gives 26.8 tons for this mission. Fighter opposition was reported as nil and flak meager and inaccurate. One aircraft could not transfer fuel from the bomb bay tank and landed at Iwo. The remaining planes landed from 18/1505 -18/1730G. From the first plane off the last plane down, it was a 16 hour 30 minute mission. After this raid, Ugaki wrote"... when we would like a cease fire to repair our plane, between 0730 and 0830 about 60 B-29s attacked where more or less damage was inflicted". He also mused correctly "what did the enemy's concentrated attack Kyushu mean? We may be satisfied if we consider it as the support of carrier operations in Okinawa where they feel the brunt of our fierce attacks". Note the accuracy of Adm. Ugaki's times; they agree exactly with the mission reports (we were one hour ahead of their time). It is rare that so disparate accounts agree in specifics like this.


Mission: 6

Date: 21 April

Target: Kushira Air Drome

Bomber Command Mission:

Code Name: Aero scope

For a change of pace the 330th BG was assigned the Kushira Air Drome and 11 planes struck the airfield. The 330th BG was joined by other BGs from the 314th BW. The AP was described as 750 feet west of the apex of the lower of two east-west runways that intersect a north-south southeast trending runway. Bombing results from crew reports ranged from unobserved to excellent. The center of the runways were reported hit and black, oily smoke and flames were seen south of the east-west runways. The 330th BG Digest states that 40.25 tons of bombs were deposited on this airfield. There were no planes lost.


Mission: 7

Date: 21 April

Target: Kanoya Air Drome

Bomber Command Mission:

Code Name Checkbook # 4

The 330th BG supplied 11 planes to a composite Group A to hit the top priority Kanoya -Air Drome complex on this day. The AP was described as the east end of the south running runway. The 11 planes deposited 48.2 tons of bombs on the Air Drome with crews reporting unobserved to excellent results. This day, LeMay sent the full might of his command, 217 planes, against nine airfields on Kyushu. Ugaki described the raids as follows: "... some 280 B-29s came to attack the naval air bases on Kyushu from 0630 to 0800 (0730 to 0900G) and inflicted considerable damage. Especially at Kasanohara (maybe the airfield we called (Nittigahara), Usa and Izumi were holed and made unusable. It was quite troublesome, that some time fused bombs were included." The Japanese could quickly repair the holes the bombs were making in the runways so we started to drop bombs with delayed action fuses, which complicated repair work. No planes were lost on this mission.


Mission: 8

Date: 24 April

Target: Hitachi Aircraft Plant

Bomber Command Mission:

Code name: Dripper 1

This was the second daylight precision bombing raid against a strategic target by the 330th BG. The target listed in the 330th BG Digest was the Hitachi aircraft factory located at Tachikawa (a suburb west of Tokyo). Planes were off at 24/0211 to 24/0257GI and were back at approximately 24/1700G. Ten 330th BG planes deposited 46.5 tons of1 bombs on the target with results described as poor. Anti-aircraft fire was reported as generally moderate to intense and accurate. This was confirmed by the six aircraft receiving minor flak damage. Eight Japanese fighters were sighted and two attacked the formation. One B-29 was lost.


CASUALTIES

Plane lost: K-63 SN 44-69897, MACR # 14311

1LT Herbert R. Williams (A/C) -MIA, presumed drowned 2LT Daniel Myers (P) -MIA, presumed drowned 2LT George Farmer (N) -MIA, survived as POW 2LT David Skillen (B) -MIA, presumed drowned 2LT Ronald Heemann (Rad Ob) -MIA, survived as POW TSGT Lawrence Seery, Jr. (FE). -MIA, presumed drowned PFC Elden Peterson (RO) -MIA, survived as POW SGT Robert Underwood (CFC) -MIA, presumed drowned CPL Edward B. Neary, RG -MIA, presumed drowned CPL Edwin Caw (LG) -MIA, presumed drowned CPL Kasmir Cwiakala (TG) -MIA, presumed drowned

The Unit History states that the Williams plane was returning from the secondary target, the Mitsubishi aircraft plant, which they bombed, and was seen to ditch off the Japanese coast, sinking in about four minutes. The aircraft's last known whereabouts was at 33,21' N by 138, 41' E. Two crewmembers were seen parachuting over enemy territory. The Accident Reports state that K-63 was in formation bombing the secondary target, the Mitsubishi aircraft plant, when the plane was hit by flak, knocking out engine number one. The engine could not be feathered and the plane could not stay in formation. It dropped out and was immediately attacked by fighters that knocked out engine number two which started emitting smoke. According to the Rad Ob 2LT Ronald Heemann, Farmer (N) and Peterson (RO), went out the nose wheel exit. Heeman states;"When I heard the buzzer, I was in the radar room and saw the CFC Gunner looking out through the rear bomb bay. I went out the rear door. By letter to my family, it was reported that my chute did not open. I pulled a delayed ripcord jump and the buddying aircraft missed the chute. I was hit and I was not in the water too long when I passed out. Japanese fishermen picked me up and bound my arms front and back, but did not take my 45. We were initially taken to Yokohama and held there for rough interrogation for a couple of weeks, and then transferred to Naromi No.1, a POW camp near Nagoya. This camp had 300 plus POWs. There were 165 British from Hong Kong and Singapore. All the others were Americans from Wake Island, Bataan, etc. As other POWs have reported, the B-29 POW's were held separately from the others. Heeman states," We survived on rice and tea". This was not the regular aircraft for this crew. They normally flew K-64 SN:42-94040, but it's Radar was not functioning. The buddying aircraft was low on fuel and went on to Iwo to refuel and returned to the ditching location but found no plane or survivors.


Mission: 9

Date: 26 April

Target: Miyakonojo Airfield

Bomber Command Mission:

Code Name Dipper 1

This raid was planned as a precision daylight raid on the Miyakonojo airfield on southern Kyushu, but it was frustrated, as were many such raids, by the weather. Twenty planes took off at 26/0315 to 26/0344G and headed for the assembly area, Yaku Shima, an island off the southern coast of Kyushu. The assembly area was 10/10 in clouds so there could be no formation assemblage. Each plane proceeded individually and dropped their bombs by radar. Two aircraft bombed the primary target, 15 planes bombed the secondary target, Miyazaki airfield, and three planes dropped bombs on targets of opportunity (T/O). No enemy planes were encountered and only one plane experienced flak at the secondary target, flying at 11,000 feet. There were no plane losses but seven planes stopped off at either Iwo or Saipan for fuel. The 20 planes dropped about 90 tons on these targets. Ugaki observed the results of these days' raids as follows: "About 30 enemy planes raided Kyushu persistently, flying in small numbers over thick clouds. Even with the help of pathfinders, targets must have been very hard to find... but some damage was inflicted on Kushitaka and Miyazaki and others. In spite of bad weather, the enemy came to attack us. On the other hand, we have been unable to attack for the past four days, it. Is regrettable indeed." Persistence was paying off.


Mission: 10

Date: 27 April

Target: Kanoya Air Drome

Bomber Command Mission:

Code Name Checkbook #7

The 330th BG contributed ten planes to a composite bomb group of the 314th BW to bomb an old favorite, Kanoya Air Drome. The ten planes left at 27/0121 to 27/02100G and dropped 197 x 500 lb GP for a total of 49.25 tons. Bombing results were described as good to excellent. No planes were lost but five received minor battle damage from flak and the landings occurred from 27/1630 -27/1755G from beginning to end, almost a 17-hour mission for some crews.


Mission: 11

Date: 28 April

Target: Kanoya Air Drome

Bomber Command Mission:

Code Name Checkbook #8

Trying to keep Ugaki's Kamikaze pilots holed up, the 330th BG contributed one squadron of planes to another squadron from the 19th BG to form a composite group to attack Kanoya Air Drome again. Twelve planes left North Field between 28/0111;) to 28/0200G. The planes assembled at Tanega Shima, the larger island south of Kyushu. One plane had a malfunction on the prop governor of engine #4. Another joined the wrong squadron and bombed Myakonogo airfield instead. The ten planes dropped 1000 x 500 lb instantaneous fuse bombs and 97 x 500 lb delayed fuse bombs for a total of 49.25 tons on the target, with reportedly excellent results. Planes landed from 28/1621 to 28/2156G, with one plane landing at Iwo lima to take on 1200 gallons of fuel and another landing at Saipan to take on 100 gallons of fuel. There were no casualties and no planes lost, but four planes reported minor flak damage.


Mission: 12

Date: 29 April

Target: Kanoya Air Drome

Bomber Command Mission:

Code Name: Checkbook #9

The daily operations were making it difficult for the ground staff to keep all the planes in the 330th BG operational. Thirteen planes were scheduled for Kanoya this day but four failed to take off due to mechanical problems. Nine planes were airborne between 3010115 to 3010123G and assembled into formation on the southeast comer of Tanega Shima. They proceeded to the initial point (IP), Toi Saki. But the bomb run was made south of the briefed course due to an unreported wind shift. Bombs were dropped from 18,000 feet at 30/0925G with 158 x 500 lb GP instant fuse and 9 x 500 lb GP time delay fuse with a six-hour delay. Bombs fell 1,200 feet from the briefed AP with fair reslults. Five to eight enemy aircraft were sighted in the target area. Ugaki made some significant comments in his diary this day. He stated that after all his problems with the B-29s, he had finally received some J2M Raiden aircraft - one of the latest fighters in the Japanese arsenal -but several were set on fire on the ground. These planes could only stay in the air about one hour. In a long raid they were apt to be caught on the ground. He also stated that an effective way to dispose of time fused bombs had not been found. Airfields are covered with small red flags indicating the presence of unexploded bombs. Despite Ugaki's travails, Kamikaze pilots were sent against the 5th Fleet, damaging two destroyers this day.


Mission: 13

Date: 30 April

Target: Tomitaka Air field

Bomber Command Mission:

Code Name: Skewer 3

For the last mission of the month, the selected target was Tomitaka airfield on the East coast of Kyushu. Take off time was 30/0248 to 30/0258G for twelve aircraft, but one aircraft aborted due to an oil leak in engine #4. Ten planes assembled around Mimaimi Iwo Jima and departed at 30/0656G arriving at the IP at 30/1100G and reached the target at 30/1114G. Bombs were dropped from 17,000 feet visually through haze. Bomb load was 112 x 500 lb GP instant fused and 84 x 500 GP fused" with 1 and 2 hour delay. Reported results were good to excellent with bombs falling in the hangar area and walking across the airfield to the buildings on the west side. There were no losses or enemy opposition. One plane had engine trouble, which delayed its arrival at the assembly point, so it joined the formation of 29th BG and dropped its bombs on Oita airfield. All aircraft were back at North Field at 30/1752 to 30/1823G with no personnel casualties or plane losses. Ugaki recorded in his diary this day"... I don't regret the passing of Spring. Spring: will come again but, what I fear is that a chance to recover the war situation won't come again." From the Japanese viewpoint, this was an accurate assessment. From the American viewpoint, it was a time of frustration for some, such as LeMay and the Washington Air Staff, who probably realized that hitting the Kyushu airfields was not the most efficient use of the B-29s. Hitting airfields could be done more effectively and efficiently by B-24s from Okinawa, but it would still be a fortnight before the airfields on Okinawa could be readied for the B-24s. For the sailors experiencing the terror of the Kamikaze attacks, our efforts -while unknown to most at the time -certainly reduced some of the pressure on them.

April Summary

The 330th BG had its baptism of fire and it was a costly one. Fifty percent of the total combat plane losses occurred this month. The BG experienced the frustration of assembling at distant points and proceeding to the Empire to bomb a strategic target only to find the target obscured in clouds. It then had to drop its bombs by radar, which in many instances, reassembling and proceeding to another IP and, thence to the radar AP. In one mission, this occurred three times with the 459th BS. Further, the higher headquarters staff at the XXI BC on Guam and the 20th AF in Washington believed that the advantages gained in their Big Week Air Offensive had been whittled away in a diversion to help the Navy and Marines around Okinawa in the Anti-Kamikaze campaign. As in most wars, the unexpected became the expected and the great strategic 20th Air Force was diverted to bombing airfields to assist Adm. Nimitz' Okinawa Campaign.


"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid." Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower


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